Peaceful parenting for the mama’s soul

Peaceful parenting looks at children as growing human beings, fully worthy of respect. People have a great inborn sense of justice. Even young children want to feel respected, useful, valued and empowered. Very young children have precious little control over their lives. Eating, sleeping and potty training are almost all they peaceful parenting control. It’s no surprise then that these are the very areas parents often have the most trouble. Tantrums in public places are also a great way to get attention.

If these are areas of struggle for you, view it as a blessing. Your child is trying to communicate with you by the only means they have. They are letting us know, something is off. Maybe we are not providing a good role for them to follow, maybe they need more predictability in their schedule, maybe they are overwhelmed, they may feel contradictory demands on them, or it could be that they are getting stressed by the very way we are trying to teach better behavior. It is relatively easy to figure these things out. The hard part is finding and implementing the solutions.

What I realized on this journey towards peaceful parenting was that my children were already everything I wanted them to be. They are little bundles of joy and love. They love themselves completely, they don’t judge their bodies or mine. They want to get along with others and they are amazingly adapt at expressing their emotions. I am the one with the hang ups and the inability to understand what they were telling me. I am the one causing the “problem behavior”. The issues with food, the screaming bedtimes indicated the areas I needed to work on, not them.

The battles for control we were having did not come from my children, they came from me. The issue at thepeaceful parenting bottom was my need to control them in the first place. They do not belong to me any more than I belong to my own mother. There is no magical point at which we finally get to be our own person. We our born ourselves. We simply invite these children in to share our lives and homes. We are blessed and honored when they do. When they arrive, they are so small and helpless. Their initial need for protection is easy to mistake for a need to be controlled.

It’s true, without support and guidance babies and children would not survive long. At the same time, we can learn to see them as something like highly intelligent beings from another universe, one in which every law is different than our own. They need us to provide them with enough food and protection to learn their new bodiespeaceful parenting and their way around. As newcomers they also need to learn the local customs. At first they don’t understand the language so all they can do is mimic our actions. Once they begin to grasp language, they still have a long way to go before they will understand all the subtlety and nuance of talking about emotion. Often we have trouble getting ideas through to them, simply because we overestimate their understanding of language. For many years children will learn best when we give them a worthy example to imitate. Steiner’s advise on teaching through imaginative stories is also helpful for this reason.

If children arrive lacking empathy and a full understanding of our language, then rules and lectures may meanpeaceful parenting something totally different for them. If their primary method for learning is mimicking, then what am I teaching my children? It isn’t about finding the right rules, structure or parenting method. Instead the true role of parenting is to model the sort of person I want my children to be. This is the essence of peaceful parenting for me.

I have to become the person I want my children to be. I must be worthy of their imitation.

It’s much easier to punish our children for the behavior we don’t like in ourselves. How many times have we screamed at our children to stop screaming? Perhaps this is the journey, not to create the ideal person in our child, but to become our own ideal. Looked at it this way I realized it is, in fact, my children who are teaching me. Everyday they hold up a nonjudgmental mirror for me. It’s a gift. I can either thank them or punish them for it. As they grow, their family, piers and children will hold up similar mirrors for them and they can choose for themselves.

Now I accept that I’ll continue to make mistakes and when I do, they will be quick to follow suit. I know they will make allowances for me as I try, fail and try again. They will not put me in time-out when I’ve had an overwhelming day and act out. They will forgive and love me all the same. I have so much to learn from my children.

Sure there are practical lessons we must teach them. Help we can offer to keep them healthy. Skills we canpeaceful parenting share. It’s important to also remember the many lessons they offer us and the ways they can help us to unlearn our old outdated patterns. Admitting my first attempt was not working is not a failure and it will not hurt the children for me to change course. In fact it’s a better model of the sort of person I want to be, one who is not afraid to make mistakes, learn from them and do better.

I ask myself all the time: 
If I could not scold, shame, scare or discipline my children, how would I need to act or structure our days in order to get them to cooperate?

The Waldorf style of parenting and education is the perfect answer for me. It is totally in line with peacefulpeaceful parenting parenting, but with an even deeper understanding of the developing human before us. There is so much wisdom in setting a worthy example, meditation on and observation of ourselves and surroundings, daily and yearly rhythm, giving children and ourselves meaningful work, and weaving it all together with the deep human need for beauty and gratitude. It satisfies a deep longing in my soul.

Bedtime Birthday Verse

My mother use to say this verse to us the night before our birthdays. I’ll never forget the feeling I got calling her up to ask how it went, so that I could share it with my own daughter.

Now the kids anticipate it and often remind me of how many kisses they will get on their birthdays for a few days in advance.

When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And mother switches off the light,
I’ll still be ** years old tonight.

But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I’ll be ** years old.

** kisses when I wake,
** candles on my cake.

Math Boards

Math Boards are one of my favorite things about Waldorf homeschooling. Even our neighborhood kids like to play with it. One day we want to make a giant 100 peg one! A girl can dream 🙂

The math board is used by skip counting with the yarn form peg to peg. As you go around the board lovely geometric shapes appear!

Continue reading “Math Boards”

My first Waldorf Sculpted Art Doll

What a fun experience! This little baby boy is a gift for my son. He’s my first attempt at a Waldorf inspired sculpted art doll. The face is made in a similar way to a more traditional Waldorf doll, but then the face is sculpted using thread and wool felting. Once the skin fabric was sewn on he really came to life! Given how enjoyable it was to work on this face, I know there will be many more to come

I will prepare tutorial to help you make one as well. Hope to have it ready soon 🙂

Continue reading “My first Waldorf Sculpted Art Doll”

Our Movie List

Over the past year I’ve been collecting a list of movies for the kids. It was a chore every Friday to try and find a movie we all could agree on.

Having this list as a go to has really made life easier. I can’t vouch for all these movies, there are many on the list we have not seen, but I separate those pretty clearly. Hopefully others will find this list useful 🙂

Please feel free to comment and share your favorite movies or options about the ones listed here.
I tried to verify the age appropriate and violence content of these films mostly using Common Sense Media. But for films that did not come up on their list I had to use other sources.

~Movies we love: Continue reading “Our Movie List”

“In soft morning light”

“In soft morning light”

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In soft morning light, the stars fade away.

The birds soon awake. This is a new day.

Awake, awake, shine like the sun.

Give light and love to everyone.

Down is the earth, up is the sky.

There are my friends, and here am I.

Good morning to you, and good morning to me.

“The Sun is in My Heart”

“The Sun is in My Heart”

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The sun is in my heart,
He (she) warms me with his (her) power.
And wakens life and love
In bird and beast and flower.
On the earth I stand upright
With joy I greet the morning sun
Who shines with love on every one
Who shines in the sky, on the land and sea,
And who fills me with light
When he (she) shines on me.
Good morning to you
And good morning to me.

“Wynken, Blynken, and Nod”

“Wynken, Blynken, and Nod”
~Eugene Field

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Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,–
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,”
Said Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,–
Never afeard are we!”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam,–
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home:
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folk thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea;
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock on the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three,
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

“Wee Willie Winkie”

“Wee Willie Winkie”
~William Miller

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Wee Willie Winkie rins through the town,
Up-stairs and doon-stairs, in his nicht-gown,
Tirlin’ at the window, cryin’ at the lock,
“Are the weans in their bed?–for it’s now ten o’clock.”

Hey, Willie Winkie! are ye comin’ ben?
The cat’s singin’ gay thrums to the sleepin’ hen,
The doug’s speldered on the floor, and disna gie a cheep;
But here’s a waukrife laddie that winna fa’ asleep.

Onything but sleep, ye rogue! glow’rin’ like the moon,
Rattlin’ in an airn jug wi’ an airn spoon,
Rumblin’ tumblin’ roun’ about, crowin’ like a cock,
Skirlin’ like a kenna-what–wauknin’ sleepin’ folk.

Hey, Willie Winkie! the wean’s in a creel!
Waumblin’ aff a body’s knee like a vera eel,
Ruggin’ at the cat’s lug, and ravellin’ a’ her thrums,–
Hey, Willie Winkie!–See, there he comes!

Wearie is the mither that has a storie wean,
A wee stumpie stoussie that canna rin his lane,
That has a battle aye wi’ sleep before he’ll close an ee;
But a kiss frae aff his rosy lips gies strength anew to me.

“The Days of the Month”

“The Days of the Month”
~Anonymous

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Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
February has twenty-eight alone.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting leap-year–that’s the time
When February’s days are twenty-nine.

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!”

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!”
Samuel T. Coleridge

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Twinkle, twinkle, little star!
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the glorious sun is set,
When the grass with dew is wet,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle all the night.

In the dark-blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark
Guides the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star!

“Morning Prayer”

“Morning Prayer”

~Ogden Nash

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Now another day is breaking,

Sleep was sweet and so is waking.

Dear Lord, I promised you last night

Never again to sulk or fight.

Such vows are easier to keep

When a child is sound asleep.

Today, O Lord, for your dear sake,

I’ll try to keep them when awake.

“Night”

“Night”
William Blake

    The sun descending in the west,
    The evening star does shine;
    The birds are silent in their nest,
    And I must seek for mine.
    The moon, like a flower
    In heaven’s high bower,
    With silent delight,
    Sits and smiles on the night.

    Farewell, green fields and happy grove,
    Where flocks have ta’en delight.
    Where lambs have nibbled, silent move
    The feet of angels bright;
    Unseen they pour blessing,
    And joy without ceasing,
    On each bud and blossom,
    And each sleeping bosom.

    They look in every thoughtless nest
    Where birds are covered warm;
    They visit caves of every beast,
    To keep them all from harm:
    If they see any weeping
    That should have been sleeping,
    They pour sleep on their head,
    And sit down by their bed.

    When wolves and tigers howl for prey,
    They pitying stand and weep;
    Seeking to drive their thirst away,
    And keep them from the sheep.
    But, if they rush dreadful,
    The angels, most heedful,
    Receive each mild spirit,
    New worlds to inherit.

    And there the lion’s ruddy eyes
    Shall flow with tears of gold:
    And pitying the tender cries,
    And walking round the fold:
    Saying: “Wrath by His meekness,
    And, by His health, sickness,
    Are driven away
    From our immortal day.

    “And now beside thee, bleating lamb,
    I can lie down and sleep,
    Or think on Him who bore thy name,
    Graze after thee, and weep.
    For, washed in life’s river,
    My bright mane for ever
    Shall shine like the gold,
    As I guard o’er the fold.”